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Frontline union workers demanding more PPE from federal government

(KOLO)
Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 3:56 PM EDT
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​Frontline union workers all across the state are demanding the federal government provide them with more personal protective equipment to keep them safe from COVID-19.

Healthcare workers, first responders and social services workers took part in virtual news conference today.

It was headed up by Maine AFL-CIO.

They are calling on President Trump and the federal government to use the full power of the defense protection act to get more PPE in the hands of essential workers.

They want the help of Maine’s Congressional Delegation, too.

They are also demanding the federal government take PPE from other industries and re-distribute it to healthcare providers and frontline workers.

These workers are also asking President Trump to require OSHA to enter a temporary emergency standard for COVID-19.

That would address an employer's responsibility to protect workers from infectious diseases.

Cokie Giles, President of the Maine State Nurses Association and a registered nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Center says, “We are desperate for the adequate PPE. We have found that the CDC has lowered what their requirements are or what should be done because of the lack of PPE. It’s our job to take care of sick people and we expect to do that but we also expect to be kept healthy so that we can continue to do that job and not take this disease home to our children, grand children, out in the community.”

According to Cokie Giles, many facilities are looking at finding ways to sterilize used N-95 masks.

That way they might be able to be worn more than once and still protect against COVID-19.

But Giles says those masks would ineffective.

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